The Little Acrobat, A Story of Italy

by Janie Prichard Duggan (Author)
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Excerpt: "The July sunshine lay hot and golden over the fields of wheat on the Italian hillsides, and the deep shade of the chestnut woods along the road was more inviting than the white glare beyond. The sun stood directly overhead, and along the middle of that white, dusty road there was not an inch of shadow. A small brown house on wheels crept slowly along this sunny way, drawn by a queer, ill-matched team of three—a plump white horse with long, silky mane and tail, a large spotted horse with fierce eyes and nostrils, and a lean, little brown pony, with strangely twisted neck. Up and up, always a little higher up, the horses toiled with the house-wagon, as the road rose into the mountains. From the interior of the wagon came the sound of voices, mingled now and then with a complaining note, or an exclamation of pain. The travelers were very tired, and poor Pietro’s fever was rising with every turn of the wheels. Several men and a sturdy girl of fifteen walked beside the horses in the powdery white dust. Behind the big wagon lagged a boy of eight or nine years. This was Natale, a slight little fellow, with dusty lean legs and dragging feet. His light brown hair curled damply about his sun-browned forehead, and he wore an old, misshapen hat set far back on his pretty head. His loosely fitting clothes were dingy with dust but Natale did not mind, for, presently, they would come to Cutigliano, the old, old town on the mountain side, and there they would camp out on the soft, green grass. And Natale knew from much experience that nothing could clean the dust from travel-stained clothes so well as rolling down the grassy slopes of the chestnut woods, with Niero and Bianco as companions. Of course the sun was hot; was it not always hot at noon of a summer’s day in the Apennines? But Niero did not complain, and why should Natale?"

Publication date
November 24, 2022
Page count
File size
1 MB
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